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“ It's like Alton Brown and Good Eats on crack.” -Albany Eats Review. Plants : 11 Feb, Dr. George Robinson (Univ Albany) and Chef Tim Warnock (US Food Service). Inverts : 18 Feb, Dr. Jason Cryan (NYSM) and Chef David Britton (Springwater Bistro, Food Network).

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slide1

“It's like Alton Brown and Good Eats on crack.”

-Albany Eats Review

Plants: 11 Feb, Dr. George Robinson (Univ Albany) and Chef Tim Warnock (US Food Service)

Inverts: 18 Feb, Dr. Jason Cryan (NYSM) and Chef David Britton (Springwater Bistro, Food Network)

Fungus and Yeast: 25 Feb, Dr. George Hulder (Cornell) and Chef Paul Parker (Chez Sophie)

the evolution of eating

The Evolution of Eating

Culinary adaptations in humans

Dr. Roland Kays

NY State Museum

rkays@mail.nysed.gov

slide3

Eat or Die

Not a difficult concept

slide4

Evolution Recap

Individuals vary

&

Variations are passed on to offspring

Some variations have more offspring survive than others

4,500,000,000 years

The earth is very old

slide6

Morphological

Digestive

Behavioral

slide7

Feeding Ecology – Behavioral Adaptations

  • 52 different fruits in diet
  • Favorites:
  • Big trees with lots of fruits
  • Fruits with high pulp/seed ratio
  • Fruits with high percentage digestible carbohydrates
  • Fruits with high phenolic compounds
  • Leighton 1993
slide9

Physical Adaptations - Teeth

Human

Teeth of different monkeys

Bobcat Teeth

slide10

Digestion – a little help from our friends

Bacteria are your friends

  • Human large intestine has complex microbe community composed largely of anaerobic bacteria
  • Number of bacteria in our gut ~ 100 Trillion from ~1000 species
  • Cell densities in Colon can exceed 1011 per gram, highest recorded for any microbial habitat
  • We are born germ free so the microbes that populate our intestinal tract must come from the outside
  • Evolutionary principals decide who survives in your gut, and therefore what your farts smell like!
  • Human Gut Microbiome Initiative
slide11

Behavioral Adaptations - Cooking

Why Cooking is Important - More Nutrition from Food

More Types of Food:Cooking detoxifies many plants

More Benefit from Food: Cooking increases digestibility of plants markedly, typically 100% or more

slide12

Behavioral Adaptations - Cooking

  • Why Cooking is Important - More Nutrition from Food
  • German 100% raw foodist suffered from:
  • 31% diagnosed with chronic Energy Deficiency
  • Worse reproductive performance (50% of woman amenorrheic, other irregular or incompetent).

VS.

slide13

Behavioral Adaptations - Cooking

  • Why Cooking is Important – Easier to Eat Meat
  • It took an adult male chimp 9hrs to eat a young 3.8kg baboon
  • He didn’t even finish it, leftovers eaten by others.
  • Two chimpanzees eating a newborn bushbuck for 5hrs (~10 chimp hrs)
  • Group of chimps eating a 4kg monkey for 11.5 chimp-hrs.
slide14

Homo erectus

Homo humongohamburgerensis

Behavioral Adaptations - Cooking

  • Chimps eating raw meat < 400 cal/h.
  • Homo erectus female needed 2269-2487 cal/day
  • Therefore, would need to chew raw meat for 5.7-6.2 hr/day.
  • Similar to time spent feeding by chimpanzees (46.9-55.7%)
slide15

New Controversy

How important was cooking to human evolution?

Richard

Wrangham

Wrangham: Cooking explains the increase in hominid brain sizes, smaller teeth and jaws and decrease in sexual dimorphism that occurred roughly 1.8 million years ago

Archeological Evidence: cooking fires began in only 250,000-500,000 years ago, when ancient hearths, earth ovens, burnt animal bones, and flint appear across Europe and the middle East.

slide16

Adaptation in our cuisine?

  • New concept – evolutionary adaptation?
slide17

Food Spices and Temperature

Survey of Recipes

93 traditional cookbooks (>100 years of use)

Sherman and Billings 1999

slide19

Spice Hypothesis:

Predicts more important for meat dishes

slide20

Adaptation in our cuisine?

  • How Local?
  • Genetic isolation
  • Different food-related selective pressures
  • Time
example from the wild local adaptation to habitat in cali coyotes
Example from the wildLocal adaptation to habitat in Cali coyotes

Habitats

Highways

Genetic sample population assignment

San Fran

Sacks et al 2004

example from the wild wolf population genetics map to diet and climate in europe
Example from the WildWolf population genetics map to diet and climate in Europe

Moose

Boar

Deer

Pilot et al 2006

slide24

3000 people

500,000 genetic markers

Novembre et al 2008, nature

slide25

Genes mirror geography within Europe

Novembre et al 2008, Nature

slide28

Lactose Tolerance in Europe

In most mammals, the gene for lactose tolerance switches off once an animal matures beyond the weaning years.

A mutation in the DNA of an isolated population of Northern Europeans around 10,000 years ago introduced an adaptive tolerance for nutrient-rich milk.

slide30

Other examples

Many active research projects

  • The response of Sardinian males to fava beans and malaria
  • Ability of Cretans to live on a diet rich in greens and high in fat
  • The changes wrought upon the physique of aboriginal peoples by processed carbohydrates
slide31

The second wave of personalized medicine to come rolling out of the Human Genome Project (after pharmacogenomics, or designer drugs).

NYT - What Your Genes Want You to Eat 2003

Think there’s any money to be made here?

slide32

“Nutrigenomics”

  • Common dietary chemicals can act on the human genome to alter gene expression or structure.
  • These interactions vary depending on personal genetic makeup.
  • Some diet-regulated genes are likely to play a role in the onset, incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases.
  • Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype (i.e., "personalized nutrition") can be used to prevent, mitigate or cure chronic disease.
slide33

What does this mean for you?

No one-size fits all diet (despite what the book shelf says)

respond disastrously to conventional diets

basic fruit/vegetable heavy diet

don't have to worry much about what they eat

How Much Diet Matters to a Person

NYT - What Your Genes Want You to Eat 2003

slide34

Now – Think evolutionarily. What worked for your ancestors?

What does this mean for you?

Future – Personalized Gene Scan and Diet Recommendations

(Think there’s any money to be made here?)

slide36

Tell me what you eat. I’ll tell you who you are.— Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Tell me who you are. I’ll tell you what you should eat.

- Nutritional Genomics